2017-08-22 training log

One must learn from pain.

That reverse hyper? Yeah…

First, squats were great. Worked up to a nice single at 320 lb. I am liking this work-up to a few ascending singles because it’s helping me with technique under heavier weights, confidence, and making 300’s just a normal thing. I’ll stay here for a bit as I work up the AMRAP set, either to 15 or maybe even 20 if I really am feeling it. Then up the weights 5-10 lb. And that’s one appeal because next I’ll do 330 as a normal thing. Then 340. With 345 as my all-time best 1RM, I’m not too far off from it, and this is just work – not trying to max out. So, like all things, just keep at it and it will come.

Stiff-legs were fine. I forgot to stand on a plate today, but I’ll do that next time. No big loss.

Couldn’t do walking lunges — too many people on the turf. So I just did split squats in place. No biggie.

Last thing tho. That reverse hyper. It didn’t work out. Now, part of the reason I want to try it is because I hear about all the awesomeness of it for the lower back, because there’s traction and so on. So I got on it today, with a little coaching. No weight; just to try to get the motion down first. When I went into extension (i.e. feet under my torso, swinging “forward” due to the momenum), my back screamed at me. I’ve got some nerve thing down there. Like flutter kicks? I can’t do them — some nerve in my lower back screams at me; been that way for a LONG time. It felt like that, but I only did the hyper twice and that was enough to say “not going to happen”.

But it intrigues me.

Why that pain?

I’ve been feeling some stuff in my back lately, some stiffness, some aches. Could that be what’s in play? Could it just be I need more flexibility in my glutes and hams? I don’t know. I didn’t spend a lot of time analyzing the pain. 😉 However, I’m going to do some work this week in the area, then try the reverse hyper again. Now that I know what pain I’m in for, I will think about it and analyze it. Basically, I want to figure out why I can’t do this and work to overcome it. I can’t see this being anything but good for me.

So, time will tell.

  • Squat
    • bar x 5
    • 135 x 5
    • 165 x 4
    • 195 x 3
    • 245 x 2
    • 275 x 1
    • 305 x 1
    • 320 x 1
    • 285 x 3
    • 225 x 13 (AMRAP)
  • Stiff-Leg Deadlift
    • 235 x 8
    • 235 x 8
    • 235 x 8
  • Split Squats
    • BW x 50e (aiming for non-stop but breaking it up if I have to)

2017-08-21 training log

Small adjustments made. Overall good.

Incline pressing continues to be the main movement. No arm pain during the session. I am pretty sure the pain isn’t actually arm or elbow, but shoulder. I’ve been focusing more on pulling my shoulders back throughout the day. I mean, I sit at a computer all day. Various chairs and couches encourage a shoulders-forward/rounded posture. So I am trying to be more aware of this and seeing what impact it will have. I’m suspecting something positive.

Pressing itself was fine. I’m still getting used to these bars and weights. There’s a lot of swivel, so when I unrack the bar it’s a bit awkward because just trying to balance things and keep things from falling on me. 🙂 I am probably going to keep the weights a little lighter until I feel more comfortable with these bars/weights at the new gym.

DB pressing I’m changing to something I’ve read a few times from Paul. A couple warm-up sets, then the first work set is heavy, aiming for 6 reps. Second set is lighter, aiming for 10-15 reps. Third set is lighter, aiming for 20-25 reps. Also, have a 1-2 second pause at the bottom to take momentum out of it; make sure the pecs are squeezing and doing the work. I didn’t quite get the weights right, but I like this approach.

Flies felt a little funny on my shoulder. I may continue to play around with angles, or I may have to drop them. We’ll see.

Pressing was fine. Then the triset… oye. That’s a bitch. 🙂 But I like it.

All in all, I think this session is coming together. Just a bit more fine-tuning.

  • Incline Press
    • bar x 10
    • 95 x 5
    • 120 x 4
    • 140 x 3
    • 195 x 2
    • 195 x 1
    • 180 x 10 (AMRAP)
    • 180 x 5 (50%)
  • DB Bench Press
    • 40e x 10
    • 55e x 5
    • 70e x 6
    • 60e x 15
    • 50e x 15
  • DB Flat Flies
    • 20e x 12
    • 20e x 12
    • 20e x 12
  • Press
    • 115 x 10
    • 115 x 10
    • 115 x 8
  • Front Plate Raise (tri set)
    • 45 x 12
    • 45 x 10
    • 45 x 10
  • DB Lateral Raise (tri set)
    • 20e X 10
    • 15e x 10
    • 15e x 10
  • Rear Lateral Raise (tri set)
    • 15e x 10
    • 15e x 8
    • 12e x 10

Sunday Metal – Behemoth

I’m not really into Behemoth, but the YouTube rabbit hole presented their Bloodstock 2016 performance to me, and it’s an interesting watch.

 

2017-08-18 training log

As much as I love strength building, I love a good arm day as well. Chasing that pump; Arnold was right. 🙂

The general program is around some heavier stuff to start, then working to isolation and pump. Trying to not focus on weight, but on quality of contractions, holds, etc.

Curls are curls. Work up, then AMRAP and 50%. Superset with close-grip bench. Went fine.

The incline hammer curls were cool. Curl up simultaneously, then a 3-5 second lowering. Go to failure. Then stand up and try to get a few alternating supinating curls. I could only get 2-3 each time and not even full lifts. But it’s just there to push a little bit more.

I tried doing the French Press seated, but again new gym, learning which pieces of equipment work, and this bench’s back was too high. So I just did them standing.

Those incline bang curls — geez! Sure the weight is really light, but so what. Keeping the DB’s pressed together the whole time, a 3 second squeeze at the top? You don’t need much weight. Then the rope extensions were a little awkward. The new gym’s setup only let me use one of the cable crossover stations for the pulldown, so I had to up the weight (2 pulleys, different mechanical advantage0. But due to lengths and heights of the cables and setup, I couldn’t be upright — had to step back a bit and bend over. Still, it overall was fine. First 20 see the wrist twisting outward to really squeeze the triceps, then after those 20 just straight-wrist and a little bent over torso to just keep eeking out more reps until you can’t any more.

Wow. HUGE pump. It was awesome. 😉

I do have to make a few adjustments, but not much.

So how was the first week on this new program? Pretty good. I generally like the setup and think it’ll hold me for a while. Next week will be trying out the adjustments, and I’m sure by week 3 things will be dialed in. Then come week 4 I expect my body will be adapting, so it’ll be time to add intensity techniques like drop sets or cheat reps or other things to push beyond failure.

That all said, there is one point of concern. I have been starting to feel the arm pain. It’s slight, but it’s there. I have some thinking to do.

  • BB Curls (elbows in, wider grip), (superset)
    • 45 x 8
    • 55 x 7
    • 65 x 6
    • 75 x 5
    • 85 x 4
    • 95 x 3
    • 65 x 15 (AMRAP)
    • 65 x 10 (50%)
  • Close-Grip Bench
    • 95 x 8
    • 115 x 7
    • 135 x 6
    • 170 x 5
    • 190 x 4
    • 210 x 3
    • 175 x 12 (AMRAP)
    • 175 x 7 (50%)
  • Incline Hammer Curls into standing DB curls (with supination), (superset)
    • 25e x 12
    • 25e x 10
    • 25e x 8
  • Standing French Press
    • 65 x 15
    • 65 x 15
    • 65 x 15
  • Incline Bang Curls (superset)
    • 15e x 10
    • 15e x 12
    • 15e x 10
  • Rope Pressdowns (twist out hands at bottom, then after failure just straight to eek out some more)
    • 60 x 40
    • 60 x 35
    • 60 x 30

2017-08-17 training log

For a first back day, it was a good start. There are adjustments to be made.

I decided I want to keep chin-ups/pull-ups in the mix. I hate them. I suck at them. The only way to stop sucking at them is to keep doing them. What’s different here is at this new gym I actually have to reach for the bar — I have to get up on my tip-toes (the old gym’s bar was low and I’d have to curl my knees to be clear when at a dead-hang). It’s not a bad thing, but it did make getting on the bar a little difficult, because of the torque of the chin-up position. Small issue tho.

When figuring out the plan here, I knew I wanted the “ups”, and because I’m weak and suck at them I knew I had do do them first else, before the muscles were too tired. However, I can’t dive right into them — need to warm-up. So I figured to put in face pulls as a warm-up. All in all, this progression of exercises worked well; I even felt the rows worked better after this bit of work.

That said:

I think I’ll add at least 1 more set of face pulls, tho I contemplate a 4th — basically going for 100 reps to warm up. TBD.

Chin-ups are fine. I may not stick with chin-ups, I may go to pull-ups, because of elbow torque issues. I need to see if the gym has any facilities for neutral grip pullups, or being able to do other things (e.g. a rope or handle over the bar). I’m also thinking about trying a bit wider grip (now I’m just outside of shoulder width). TBD. It’s all details, so long as I do some sort of “up”. And note: all the “ups” are full. I start at a dead hang, shoulders protracted. Then pull up to the chin at or over the bar, then controlled back down, all the way back down to a dead hang (no dropping, nor taking an exaggerated descent — I don’t want momentum, nor to jar my shoudlers). No kipping. No momentum.

The rows felt welcome, however I didn’t feel like I really got it. I’m not sure if it’s a matter of the lower reps and it wasn’t heavy enough? or if maybe I just want more reps. I’m thinking about adjusting the weight slightly then upping the reps. So instead of a 5/4/3/2/1 work up, something like a 8/7/6/5/4 type of thing; a little more volume with the heavier weight. I did like the AMRAP + 50% set tho. Just needs a hair more.

Shrugs were fine. I sometimes feel like shrugs aren’t quite doing it for me, that I need to find a different way to actually get stuff out of it, but for now I’ll stick with this approach.

Then finally pulldowns with the close, neutral-grip (v-bar). These actually felt really good, I felt a lot of work in my lower lats. I just needed to dial in the weight (new gym, new equipment, differences gonna happen). But I dug it.

So all in all, things went fine. I just need some slight adjustments.

  • Face Pulls
    • 70 x 25
    • 70 x 25
  • Chin-Ups
    • BW x 5
    • BW x 3
    • BW x 3
  • Barbell Rows
    • 95 x 5
    • 115 x 5
    • 135 x 3
    • 155 x 2
    • 185 x 3
    • 145 x 12 (AMRAP)
    • 145 x 8 (50%)
  • BB Shrugs
    • 275 x 8
    • 275 x 8
    • 185 x 20
    • 185 x 20
  • Close-grip V-Bar Pulldowns
    • 110 x 15
    • 120 x 15
    • 125 x 12
    • 125 x 10

I had no idea I was such a badass…

The joys of posting pictures on the Internet is sooner or later someone reuses them for their own purposes.

My friend Ed found this:

That’s a picture of me, shooting at KR Training. I do remember the picture, but I don’t recall the exact circumstances of it. (Updated: now I remember! I was T&E’ing a Wilson Combat Spec-Ops 9…)

I’m not going to link to the page in question (why give them the SEO and traffic?), but you can see it in the address bar of the screenshot. (Updated: while they aren’t hotlinking to the image, they did just download and reupload it with the original filename intact: “WilsonSpecOps-Hsoi.jpg”).

It’s someone reviewing/selling an eBook on how to shoot, and you can tell from the screenshot copy that it’s pretty badass…

Some of the other screenshots? They’re from video games. I will say I’m in good company tho, because they also have a shot of Mike Seeklander (taken from the Cheaper Than Dirt website).

Between me, Mike, and all those video games, the webpage is pretty convincing that this is a solid program. Apparently it has “has an impressive table of contents”. Also, “you are going to discover the tricks and techniques that wil help you own and sway the battle to be in your control so that you won’t have to fear anything that happens when you are schooling your opponents in the art of fighting like a soldier.”

Best of all?

“This book has the potential to help you become the best that there is. This is not a joke. Do not fear that it may be a scam as the author is an expert who knows what he is talking about and you can take his word for it.”

And you can take this website’s word for that. Much credible. Such authority.

I’m not going to get too bent out of shape over it (until I’m given reason to). I just find it funny. Sad, because someone probably did get parted with their money over this, but funny.

2017-08-15 training log

That went well, but I am going to make some revisions.

Leg day, and a novel day because I got to use a real rack for once, instead of one of those peg/pyramid types where nothing is adjustable. It was great to be able to put the hooks at my height, the catch pins at my depth, and to be able to unrack the bar and take a simple 2 steps back into position. I felt safer, I felt more confident, and less encumbered by external factors. That is — I could focus on squatting.

An interesting side note is the wall is all mirrors, so I was able to fully see myself the entire time — including at depth. While I don’t want to watch myself too much, I am happy to have it for the positive feedback about where I am regarding depth. I don’t want to focus on it, because I don’t want to be going for a 1RM and focusing on my hip crease and not on the squat itself. But while I’m working up, I certainly can use it as a means of check and reinforcement. I dig that.

Anyways…

Whereas I’m basically doing a mass/hypertrophy focus, squats are a bit of an exception. I think squat is my weakest lift, both in terms of relative poundages but also technique and under-the-bar confidence. I’ve been working on my descent because that’s the setup for everything — when that’s good, the lift is good; when that’s not, the lift is not. A few weeks ago I hit upon some good cues and technique, a good groove, and I’m working on maintaining and improving that. Thus, I’m setting up my work to help me focus on improving my squat.

I do a 5/4/3/2/1 workup, then I want to hit singles up to a nice fairly heavy single. It shouldn’t be a max, tho could be a training max. And somewhat by feel: If I’m feeling good, go for it; if I’m not, just go as heavy as I feel like. I want to push, I just don’t want to overdo it. After the singles, then lower the weight for a set of 3, then like today I dropped and did an AMRAP set (aiming for 8-12, maybe 10-15, whatever… something in that area). No failure, no 50%. I want to have that last set push me, but not kill me. Again, I’m thinking a lot about my technique, so I don’t want to be exhausted and have technique degrade — trying to reinforce this technique improvement, and that won’t happen if I’m tired and sloppy.

I may refine it more, with some more drop sets, like a set of 3, then a set of 5, then an AMRAP. I don’t know yet. But basically, squat more, squat relatively heavy since that helps reinforce the technique, AND since that of course is how I’ll get stronger.

After that, stiff-legs. I changed my mind on what to do here a couple times, like stiff-legs? Romanian deadlifts? In the end, I settled on 1″ deficit (stand on a 45# plate) stiff-legs. Start on the ground with that extra range of motion, knees are bent, and it’s stiff leg (not straight-leg). Focus on dragging the bar up and down the body, with emphasis on pushing the hips back – not hinging. That was just perfect. Just what I wanted.

Lunges. Just bodyweight walking. I like the new gym has a long turf area for things like Prowler pushes and tire flips, and it made for a good walking area. Ultimately it’d be 100 reps each leg, but I have to work up to that. So the first phase? 50 reps each leg, with the goal of 50 finishing it without a break. Today, I had to take breaks. I don’t recall how many I did, but it was maybe like 30 reps each leg, then I took a 1 minute break, then continued, got as many as I could, I think then maybe I was 5 reps each shy, but I was tapped; rested like 10 seconds, then kept going and got the 50 each. As much as I don’t like unilateral work, it’s good for me. This also helps to give me one hell of a pump. 😉

Leg curls. These didn’t go so well. The curl bench they have feels a little awkward. So was it that? having to get used to it? didn’t adjust it as well as I could have? or maybe the fact my quads were burning so much and the downward pressure on them while curling was killing me. Maybe a little bit of all of them. But I didn’t feel like this did anything for me. I’m going to reevaluate. Maybe I drop them. Maybe I add them in but in a different way, like before I lunge. Dunno.

Then calf raises were on the slate but I discovered — this gym doesn’t have any sort of calf raise machines! It doesn’t surprise me when you think about the gym’s orientation, but it also feels like such a standard piece of equipment (but you can’t have all the machines). Still, there are things I can do, I’m not without the ability to, but I opted to scrap calf work for today.

So, you can see there’s a bunch of revising to do. We’ll see how it goes.

  • Squat
    • bar x 5
    • 135 x 5
    • 160 x 4
    • 190 x 3
    • 240 x 2
    • 270 x 1
    • 300 x 1
    • 315 x 1
    • 275 x 3
    • 225 x 12 (AMRAP)
  • 1″ Deficit Stiff-Leg Deadlift
    • 225 x 8
    • 225 x 8
    • 225 x 8
  • Walking Lunges
    • BW x 50e (aiming for non-stop but breaking it up if I have to)
  • Leg Curls
    • 25 x 12
    • 25 x 12
    • 25 x 12

2017-08-13 training log

So many new things.

Biggest new thing? New gym. After 6 years with the one gym, it’s time to move on. There’s a lot of reasons for why the switch, but ultimately it boils down to changing goals. The gym I’ve been at was fine for quite a while, but for the past couple years I’ve either had wants or needs the gym couldn’t satisfy. Trouble is, most gyms that could be workable are all the way across town (e.g. Big Tex Gym, Hyde Park Gym) and that’s just not workable for me. But I did find a place not too far from the house that looks like it’ll be suitable for the things I want to do these days. I’m trying it out for a month; if it works, great, else I’ll continue searching.

I’ve had a couple sessions at the new place now, and it’s different. Mostly good, just differences. For example, instead of a dedicated bench press station, there’s just a lot of racks and benches, so you put the bench in the rack and adjust everything as you need. That’s actually great, but it just takes a little time to get all the adjustments right. Like today, I had the J-hooks set well but if I could have had maybe 1/2″ more it would have been better — or I learn how to use my lats to pull the bar out of the hooks. The bars also feel different, a little thicker, deeper knurling. Looking up at the ceiling, it’s different. Heck, even the fact that the plates are a hodge podge of brands throws me off when I’m doing plate math. 🙂 None of this is bad, and none of it is major. But it is a lot of little things that change the feel and approach, especially after 6 years of seeing the same thing over and over. I’ll adapt; just takes time to figure out the new setup.

The other thing that’s changing is the programming. I’m going to shift to some mass building for a while, because 1. it’s fun, 2. it should be a little less stressful to my joints. I’m also starting to add more pressing back in, because I want to see if I can get back to flat bench pressing (or not). Everything here is going to start slow. For example, this week I have a rough plan of what to do, weights to use, rep schemes, etc., but I’ll see how it goes. Do a session, evaluate, then next session will have adjustments. I want to be a little lighter, a little more conservative. This allows me to then increase as the weeks go on. I can up the weights, the rep schemes, intensity techniques (e.g. drop sets, failure, forced reps, cheats, etc.). add more sets, whatever.

So with that…

Pressing remains incline, as I start to dabble in more pressing to see how my arms feel. I’m doing the Paul Carter 5/4/3/2/1 workup, followed by an AMRAP then a 50% set.

Following with some DB flat bench pressing, palms facing each other. I kept it simple, just a 3×10 straight set with a little bit of eccentric focus. Then some simple flat flies. This is pretty vanilla stuff, and reasonable to ease me back in. But I didn’t feel it did enough for the chesticles. I think I may change the DB pressing to be something like 1-2 warm-up sets, then to hit a set of 8 to failure, 15 to failure, then 25 to failure (naturally the weight goes down each set). That should put a little more in. This is the first time I’ve tried palms-facing pressing, and from how things felt that’s likely why I didn’t feel it so much in my chest — but it sure felt a lot better on my shoulders and arms. So I’ll try the different rep scheme next week and see how it compares.

A little bit of Press work. I debate if I want to keep this or do something like seated DB press, but I think I’ll keep this for now — I like pressing. This isn’t much, and I don’t expect to make this a LOT either. Just a little bit of “heavy work” for the shoulders.

Then the last thing? Oye! A tri-set: front plate raise (45# plate, AMRAP), then DB lat raises, then DB rear lat raises. This was pretty killer. I’ve usually done the front plate raise with a 25# since I’d go for 100 reps, but here I want to go heavier and to failure. This all worked out great the first set. Second set, I was dying. Third set, I couldn’t eek out the reps because my delts were dead. 🙂 To make up for it, on the 3rd set I did a couple drop sets after each exercise. So front plate 45# AMRAP, then a 25# AMRAP. Then lat raises with the 20’s, then dropped to 15, then 10’s. The rear with the 15s, then 10s. That was enough. I don’t expect to normally do the dropping like that, but I need to adjust my weights a bit because I want to ensure I get the volume — here it’s not about the weight but the volume/reps. Get that pump. So I’ll keep this as-in, just adjust weights.

All in all, I dug it. A few tweaks to be had, but overall a good start.

  • Incline Press
    • bar x 10
    • 90 x 5
    • 115 x 4
    • 135 x 3
    • 170 x 2
    • 190 x 1
    • 175 x 12 (AMRAP)
    • 175 x 6 (50%)
  • DB Bench Press (4-0-1-0 tempo)
    • 60e x 10
    • 60e x 10
    • 60e x 10
  • DB Flat Flies
    • 25e x 12
    • 25e x 12
    • 25e x 12
  • Press
    • 115 x 10
    • 115 x 10
    • 115 x 7
  • Front Plate Raise, overhead (tri set)
    • 45 x 13
    • 45 x 10
    • 45 x 10 (then drop set)
  • DB Lateral Raise (tri set)
    • 20e X 10
    • 20e X 8
    • 20e X 5 (then drop set)
  • Rear Lateral Raise (tri set)
    • 15e X 10
    • 15e x 8
    • 15e x 5 (then drop set)

Sunday Metal – Sleep

Another gem from the YouTube rabbit hole.

This is Sleep, live at Hellfest 2013.

 

2017-08-11 training log

Deload week is over.

I did something to my lower back yesterday during my top set of incline press — different bench, I wasn’t 100% stable on the bench, slid a bit, and it seems to have put increased pressure on my lower back. It’s not bad, but it’s there. Didn’t affect my lifting today tho. Did a nice work-up. The 390 went up quite easily for those 5 reps, and again I stop at 5 because of the deload protocol.

So this is the end of the “Prep & Fat Loss” program.

I didn’t lose any bodyweight that I could tell. I’m not sure why; I have some thoughts.

I did increase my work capacity. As much as cardio work isn’t my favorite, I’m going to keep 20-30 minutes of something light after my lifting. It should help me overall.

It was fun to challenge myself in a different way. Gives me some different thoughts and insights. And as much as I suck at pull-ups and chin-ups, part of me wants to keep doing them (so long as my shoulders and elbows don’t hate it), because that’s how you get better.

I don’t regret the past 6 weeks. I succeeded at some things, failed at others; either way I learned.

I am looking forward to the coming program change.

5/3/1 Prep & Fat Loss Program

Bodyweight: 245
Rest Period (seconds):

  • Deadlift – 155 x 5
  • Crunches – BW x 12
  • Deadlift – 195 x 5
  • Crunches – BW x 12
  • Deadlift – 235 x 5
  • Crunches – BW x 12
  • Deadlift – 275 x 5
  • Pull-up – BW x 3
  • Deadlift – 310 x 3
  • Pull-up – BW x 3
  • Deadlift – 350 x 1
  • Pull-up – BW x 3
  • Deadlift – 390 x 5
  • Pull-up – BW x 3